The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

October 21, 2013

Scaring up business this fall

Vacant storefronts prove ideal for temporary Halloween businesses

ANDERSON, Ind. — A layer of fog clung to the floor inside Spirit Halloween and swirled across a nearby display of plastic bats and rubber mice.

Spirit Halloween, 4622 S. Scatterfield Road, located near the Kohl’s store, is open for only a few months each year, but the operation of a seasonal business can draw large crowds.

Penny Stout, 33, of Wilkinson, said she stopped at the store to pick up a few items to finish her children’s costumes. She remembers when the store was an Old Navy.

“As long as it is not keeping something from permanently coming here, I’m good with it,” she said of the temporary store.

Darla Couch, Anderson, and Annette Craycraft, Yorktown, were debating the scariness of coiled snakes and white rats at a display in the store. The women, who are Court Appointed Special Advocates, were buying decorations for a Halloween party for foster children.

They said the seasonal store is good for the city.

“I think this store has been fairly popular,” Couch said. “It’s better than the store being vacant. It puts money back into the economy.”

And where there are shoppers — there is money.

In fact, seasonal businesses can generate big money, especially when it comes to Halloween.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend about $6.9 billion this year on costumes, candy and decorations. That number is down about $1 billion from last year’s $8 billion in Halloween sales.

Stephanie Rieger, manager of Spirit Halloween, said the store, which opened on Labor Day weekend, will close Nov. 4.

“Our biggest day is Oct. 26,” she said. “On the weekends we can see upwards of 400 to 500 people in a day. It’s a good bit of chaotic fun.”

Rieger said the average shopper spends about $40, but there are people who will spend more than $500, including animated yard displays and decorations.

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